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Lady Pat volleyballers rally, then fall to PC

STANFORD — The Lincoln County Lady Patriot volleyball team rallied from a lopsided first-set loss to challenge 12th Region rival Pulaski County Monday night at J.C. Eddleman Gymnasium but it wouldn’t be enough, as the visiting Lady Maroons claimed a 3-1 win.

“Minus that first set it was a really good match,” Lincoln coach Samantha Torres said. “Everything else looked really good. I’m proud of the effort and the talent that they brought tonight.”

Pulaski (17-11) completely dominated Lincoln in the opening set, scoring the first nine points of the set and never looking back as the team rolled to a 25-8 win. The Lady Patriots (11-14) rallied to take set two 25-18 and the final two sets were evenly-matched but Lincoln would fall in both, 25-18, 25-22.

“They definitely rallied back. I was really proud of the fight that they brought after that first set,” said Torres. “It’s easy to stay down once you’re beat like that. It’s easy to say, ‘Okay, they’re just going to keep doing it to us. We’re not going to fight back.’”

But, after watching Pulaski basically pummel Lincoln in the first set, was Torres concerned about the Lady Patriots’ chances over the remainder of the match?

“No, I wasn’t that concerned,” Torres said. “We tend to fight back. We usually have one set like that where they’re kind of struggling and then they turn it back on and they fight hard.”

Molli Nelson, who had the service on Pulaski’s 9-0 run to open the first set, helped serve up three straight points to open set two. After earning side out, the Lady Patriots rolled off five unanswered points off the service of Peyton Griffin to go on top to stay, 6-3. Lincoln led by as many as 11 points in the set before posting the 25-18 win.

Lincoln led 4-1 in the third set only to have Pulaski run off five straight points to edge ahead 6-4. The Lady Pats would tie the game up at 6-6 and again at 8-8. They were within 12-11 when the Lady Maroons surged, outscoring the Lady Pats 11-2 to take a 23-13 lead. Lincoln would close on a 5-2 run but two points was all Pulaski needed to seal the set win.

The Lady Patriots never led in the final set but they continued to battle the Lady Maroons, staying within one to four points for most of the set. The game was tied at 18, 19 and 20 late in the set before Pulaski picked up the 25-22 win to take the match.

“PC’s definitely an incredible team,” Torres said. “They’ve got some strong hitters up there. They’ve got multiple. We played them last year and we anticipated 18 (Peyton Randolph) having a strong game because we knew how good she was. And then she had other strong hitters behind her. They played well.”

Sarah Beth Grimes led the Lady Patriots’ statistics, finishing with seven kills, eight digs, nine assists, three aces and one block. Peyton Griffin had four aces, five digs, four kills and two assists, Kaylie Cotter had three aces and 15 digs, Emery Bertram had four kills, Kasie Mullins had two blocks and Kaylynn Smith had three assists.